10 Notorious Google Bombs

Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow noticed something weird this morning. When he searched for "murder" on Google, the second result was for the "Abortion" entry on Wikipedia. "However you feel about abortion, this Wikipedia page is pretty clearly not the second-most relevant document regarding murder on the entire English-speaking World Wide Web," Doctorow wrote before calling on the Reddit community to help.

And it is pretty easy to ask for "help." You just need to gather enough people to link to sites other than the Wikipedia page for abortion when mentioning murder on the Web. That's presumably the same way that a bunch of "anti-choicers with a little tech know-how," as Jezebel's Anna North called them, pushed the abortion page so far up in the search results in the first place. (By the time our own Garance Franke-Ruta got to Doctorow's story at 8:53 a.m., the abortion page had moved into the first results slot.)

The anti-choicers employed a practice known as Google Bombing, which takes advantage of the search engine's algorithm's preference for hyperlinks. Google Bombing has been around since 1999--only two years after Google Search launched--when a search for "more evil than Satan himself" directed individuals to the Microsoft homepage, but it wasn't coined until two years later.

Most notably used for political means, Google Bombing was a big news topic back in 2007 after activist George Johnston managed to point "miserable failure" searches to George W. Bush's official White House website. Google tweaked their algorithm to make bombing more difficult, but the news out today confirms that it's still possible to pull off.

Here, we present 10 of the most notorious Google Bombs in the search giant's history:

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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